Monthly Archives: February 2014

IMU plans to expand international horizons

Tuition reform to charge students based on credit plans, president says.

The top educational institution in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region has a clear ambition: to not only revive its leading academic role in northwestern China, but to expand its international horizons.

“We expect that students here, no matter their ethnic group or where they are from, will have broad minds and great expectations for their future,” said Chen Guoqing, 49, president of the Inner Mongolia University in Hohhot, the autonomous region’s capital.




The Effects of the Mongol Empire on Russia

By Dustin Hosseini


The history of Russia has always been a relatively sad and tumultuous one wrought with wars, power struggles, and abrupt changes. These changes have often been forcibly thrust wholesale upon Russia, rather than evolving through gradual, measured methods as in most peoples’ histories. From an earlier time, in which we know Russia as ‘Kievan Rus,’ the princes of the various cities (such as Vladimir, Pskov, Suzdal, and Kiev) constantly battled and bickered for power and control of the small semi-united state. Under the reigns of St. Vladimir (980-1015) and Yaroslav the Wise (1015-1054), the Kievan state was at its highest point and attained relative peace in contrast with years past. However, as history went, once the reigning rulers died, a power struggle ensued and wars once again flared.

It was perhaps the decision of Yaroslav the Wise before his death in 1054 to assign princedoms to his sons that set the future of Kievan Russia for the next two hundred years. Following this decision, civil wars between the various sons ravaged much of the Kievan confederation, draining it of essential resources it would later need. As the princes incessantly fought with each other, the confederation of cities known as the Kievan state slowly decayed, declined, and lost its former glory. Further weakened by the incursions of steppe tribes such as the Polovtsy (aka Cumans/Kumans or Kipchaks) and previously by the Pechenegs, eventually the Kievan state was ripe for a takeover by more powerful invaders from distant lands.

Yet before this, the Rus had a chance to change their fate. It was around 1219 when the Mongols first entered the areas nearest Kievan Russia in a move against the Polovtsy, who, in turn, asked for the assistance of the Rus princes. A council of princes convened in Kiev to consider the request, an act which worried the Mongols. According to historical sources, the Mongols declared that they had not attacked the cities or people of the Rus nor attacked their lands. The Mongol envoys requested peace of the Russian princes. Yet the princes did not trust the Mongols, suspecting that the Mongol advance would continue into Rus. Subsequently, the Mongol emissaries were promptly killed and any chance for peace was destroyed at the hands of the princes of the fractured Kievan state. Within twenty years, Batu Khan marched from Mongolia with an army of 200,000 men. One by one, Russian principalities such as Ryazan, Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, and Rostov fell to the Batu and his armies. The armies looted and razed the cities, slaughtered the people, and took many as prisoners and slaves. The Mongols eventually captured, sacked, and destroyed Kiev, the symbolic center of Kievan Russia. Only outlying northwesterly principalities such as Novgorod, Pskov, and Smolensk survived the onslaught, though these cities would endure indirect subjugation and become tributaries of the Golden Horde. Perhaps a decision by the Russian princes to make peace could have averted this. However, that was not the case and for their miscalculations, Russia would be forever changed in terms of its religion, art, language, government, and political geography.

The Orthodox Church

With the initial Mongol onslaught, many churches and monasteries were looted and destroyed while countless adherents to the church and scores of clergy were killed; those who survived often were taken prisoner and enslaved (Dmytryshyn, 121). The mere shock of the force and size of the Mongol army was devastating. The distress was just as political and economic in nature as it was social and spiritual. The Mongol forces claimed that they were sent by God, and the Russians believed that the Mongols were indeed sent by God as a punishment for their sins. The Orthodox Church would become a powerful beacon during the “darker” years of the Mongol subjugation. The Russian people would eventually turn inward, seeking solace in their faith and looking to the Orthodox Church for guidance and support. The shock of being conquered by this steppe people would plant the seeds of Russian monasticism, which would in turn play a major role in the conversion of such people as the Finno-Ugrian tribes and the Zyrianians (now known as the Komi), as well as the colonization of the northern regions of Russia (Vernadsky, 379).

The humiliation suffered by the princes and the town assemblies caused fragmentation of their political authority. This loss of political unity allowed the Church to rise as an embodiment of both religious and national identity while filling the gap of lost political identity (Riasanovsky, 57). The unique legal concept of iarlyk (pronounced ‘yarlīgh’), or charter of immunity, also contributed to the strengthening of the Church. With the reign of Mönke-Temür, a iarlyk was issued to Metropolitan Kirill for the Orthodox Church in 1267. While the church had been under the de facto protection of the Mongols ten years earlier (from the 1257 census conducted under Khan Berke), this iarlyk formally decreed protection for the Orthodox Church. More importantly, it officially exempted the church from any form of taxation by Mongol or Russian authorities (Ostrowski, 19). And permitted that clergymen not be registered during censuses and that they were furthermore not liable for forced labor or military service (Hosking, 57).

As expected, the result of the iarlyk issued to the Orthodox Church was profound. For the first time, the church would become less dependent on princely powers than in any other period of Russian history. The Orthodox Church was able to acquire and consolidate land at a considerable rate, one that would put the church in an extremely powerful position in the centuries following the Mongol takeover. The charter of immunity strictly forbade both Mongol and Russian tax agents from seizing church lands or demanding any services from the Orthodox Church. This was enforced by a simple penalty – death (Vernadsky, 377).

Another prominent reason the church developed so quickly laid in its mission – to spread Christianity and convert those still practicing paganism in the countryside. To strengthen the internal structure of the Orthodox Church, metropolitans traveled extensively throughout the land to alleviate administrative deficiencies and to oversee the activities of the bishops and priests. Moreover, the relative security (economic, military, and spiritual) surrounding hermitages lured peasants from the countryside. As this heightened urban development within the periphery of church properties destroyed the peaceful atmosphere the hermitage was originally established to give, members of the monastery would move further out into the wilderness to establish a new hermitage, beginning the process anew. This system of founding religious settlements continued for some time and contributed to the augmentation of the Orthodox Church (Vernadsky, 377-8).

One last significant change that occurred was the location of the center of the Orthodox Church. Before the Mongols invaded Russian lands, Kiev was the ecclesiastical center. Following the destruction of Kiev, the Holy See moved to Vladimir in 1299, and eventually to Moscow in 1322 (Hosking, 72), helping to bolster the importance of Moscow significantly.


While the arts in Russia first suffered mass deportations of its artists, the monastic revival and the focus of attention that turned toward the Orthodox Church led to an artistic revival. What defined the Russians – at this crucial moment when they were without a state – was their Christianity and ability to express their devout beliefs. During this Time of Troubles, such great artists as Theophanes the Greek and Rublev came into play (Figes, 299-300).

It was during the second half of the Mongol rule in the mid-fourteenth century that Russian iconography and fresco painting began once again to flourish. Theophanes the Greek arrived in the late 1300s. He decorated and worked on various churches throughout the land, especially in Novgorod and Nizhniy Novgorod. In Moscow, he painted the iconostasis for the Church of the Annunciation as well as worked on the Church of the Archangel Michael (Martin, 233). A few decades after Theophanes’ arrival, Rublev would become one of his most aspiring and important students. Iconography came to Russia from Byzantium in the tenth century, but the Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century cut Russia off from Byzantium.


While the linguistic effects may seem at first trivial, such impacts on language help us to determine and understand to what extent one empire had on another people or group of people – in terms of administration, military, trade – as well as to what geographical extent the impact included. Indeed, the linguistic and even socio-linguistic impacts were great, as the Russians borrowed thousands of words, phrases, other significant linguistic features from the Mongol and the Turkic languages that were united under the Mongol Empire (Dmytryshyn, 123). Listed below are a few examples of some that are still in use. All came from various parts of the Horde.

  1. амбар                          ambar                                    barn
  2. базар                          bazar                                     bazaar
  3. деньги                        den’gi                                     money
  4. лошадь                       loshad‘                                    horse
  5. сундук                        sunduk                                   truck, chest
  6. таможня                      tamozhnya                              customs

One highly important colloquial feature of the Russian language of Turkic origin is the use of the word давай which expresses the idea of ‘Let’s…’ or ‘Come on, let’s…’ (Figes, 370-1). Listed below are a few common examples still found commonly in Russian.

  1. Давай чай попьем.              Davai chai popem.             ‘Let’s drink some tea.’
  2. Давай выпьем!                    Davai vypem!                   ‘Come on, let’s get drunk!’
  3. Давай пойдём!                    Davai poidyom!                 ‘Come on, let’s go!’

In addition, there are dozens of place names of Tatar/Turkic origin in southern Russia and the lands of the Volga River that stand out on maps of these areas. City names such as Penza, Alatyr, and Kazan’ and names of regions such as Chuvashia and Bashkortostan are examples.

Administration and Institutions

Images of totalitarianism spring to mind when one at first ponders that which is Russia: from the current times of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, to when the Soviet Union was still a nation, and even before to Imperial Russia. However, in Kievan Rus, a form of democracy did exist. Comprised of all free male citizens, the veche (вече) was a town assembly that met to discuss such matters as war and peace, law, and invitation or expulsion of princes to the veche’s respective town; all cities in Kievan Russia had a veche. It was essentially a forum for civic affairs to discuss and resolve problems. However, this democratic institution suffered severe curtailment under the Mongols.

By far the most influential of the assemblies were in Novgorod and Kiev. In Novgorod, a special veche bell (in other towns, church bells were ordinary used for this purpose) was created for calling the townspeople together for an assembly, and in theory, anyone could ring it. In the times after the Mongols had conquered the majority of Kievan Russia, veches ceased to exist in all cities except Novgorod, Pskov, and others in the northwestern regions. Veches in those cities continued to function and develop until Moscow itself subjugated them in the late fifteenth century. However, today the spirit of the veche as a public forum has been revived in several cities across Russia, including especially Novgorod.

Of great importance to the Mongol overlords was census tabulation, which allowed for the collection of taxes. To support censuses, the Mongols imposed a special dual system of regional administration headed by military governors, the basqaqi (баскаки), and/or civilian governors, the darugi (даругы). Essentially, the basqaqi were given the responsibility of directing the activities of rulers in the areas that were resistant or had challenged Mongol authority. The darugi were civilian governors that oversaw those regions of the empire that had submitted without a fight or that were considered already pacified to Mongol forces (Ostrowski, 273). However, the offices of the basqaqi and the darugi, while occasionally overlapping in authority and purpose did not necessarily always rule at the same time.

As we know from history, the ruling princes of Kievan Russia did not trust the Mongolian ambassadors that came to discuss peace with them in the early 1200s; the princes regrettably put the ambassadors of Genghis Khan to the sword and before long paid dearly. Thus, in the thirteenth century the basqaqi were stationed in the conquered lands to subjugate the people and authorize even the day-to-day activities of the princes. Furthermore, in addition to ensuring the the census, the basqaqi oversaw conscription of the local populace (Martin, 150). 

Existing sources and research indicates that the basqaqi had largely disappeared from the Rus’ lands by the mid-fourteenth century, as the Rus more or less accepted the Mongol overlords. As the basqaqi left, the darugi replaced them in power. However, unlike the basqaqi, the darugi were not based in the confines of the lands of the Rus; in fact, they were stationed in Sarai, the old capital of the Golden Horde located not far from present-day Volgograd. The darugi functioned mainly as experts on the lands of the Rus’ and advised the khan accordingly. While the responsibility of collecting and delivering tribute and conscripts had belonged to the basqaqi, with the transition from the basqaqi to the darugi these duties we actually transferred to the princes themselves when the khan saw that the princes could complete such tasks (Martin, 151).

The first census taken by the Mongols occurred in 1257, just seventeen years after their conquest of Rus’ lands. The population was divided into multiples of ten, a system that had been employed by the Chinese and later adopted by the Mongols who extended its use over the entirety of their empire; the census served as the primary purpose for conscription as well as for taxation. This practice was carried on by Moscow after it stopped acknowledging the Horde in 1480. The practice fascinated foreign visitors to Russia, to whom large-scale censuses were still unknown. One such visitor, Sigismund von Herberstein from Hapsburg made note of the fact that every two or three years, the prince conducted a census throughout the land (Wittfogel, 638). Census taking would not become widespread in Europe until the early 19th century. One significant observation that we must make is that the extent to which the Russians so thoroughly conducted the census was not achieved elsewhere in Europe for another 120 years or so, during the Age of Absolutism. The impact of the Mongol Empire at least in this area was obviously deep and effective and helped to create a strong central government for Russia.

One important institution that the basqaqi oversaw and maintained was the yam (a system of posts), which was constructed to provide food, bedding, horses, and either coaches or sleds, according to the season (Hosking, 89). At first constructed by the Mongols, the yam allowed relatively rapid movement of important communiqués between the khans and their local leaders, as well as a method of quickly dispatching envoys, local or foreign, between the various principalities across the vast the empire. Each post had horses ready for use by authorized persons as well as to replace tired horses for especially long journeys. Each post was usually located about a day’s ride from the nearest post. The local people were obliged to maintain the posts, to feed the horses, and to meet the needs of emissaries traveling through their posts.

The system was quite efficient. Another report by emissary Sigismund von Herberstein of the Hapsburgs stated that the yam system allowed him to travel 500 kilometers (from Novgorod to Moscow) within 72 hours – much faster than anywhere in Europe (Wittfogel, 639-40). The yam system helped the Mongols to maintain tight control over their empire. During the twilight years of the Mongol’s hold on Russia in the late fifteenth century, Prince Ivan III decided to continue the use of the idea of the system of the yam in order to keep an established system of communication and intelligence. However, the idea of a postal system as we know it today would not come into existence until after the death of Peter the Great in the early 1700s.

Some such institutions brought to Russia by the Mongols transformed to meet Russian needs over time and lasted for many centuries after the Golden Horde. These greatly augmented the development and expansion of the intricate bureaucracy of the later, imperial Russia.

The Rise of Moscow

Founded in 1147, Moscow remained an insignificant town for more than a hundred years. At that time, the location lay at the crossroads of three major roads, one of which connected Moscow to Kiev. The geographic location of Moscow merits attention, as it sits on a bend of the Moscow River, which connects to the Oka and Volga River. Via the Volga River, that allows access to the Dniepr and Don Rivers, as well as the Black and Caspian Seas, huge opportunities for trade and commerce with distant lands have always existed. With the Mongol onslaught, droves of refugees began to arrive from the devastated southern portion of Rus, namely Kiev (Riasanovsky, 109). Moreover, the actions of the Muscovite princes in favor with the Mongols helped Moscow’s rise as the center of power.

Leading up to the point that the Mongols granted Moscow the iarlyk, Tver and Moscow were constantly struggling for power. The major turning point surfaced in 1327 when the populace of Tver started to rise in rebellion. Seeing this as an opportunity to please the khan of his Mongol overlords, Prince Ivan I of Moscow took a huge Tatar contingent and quashed the rebellion in Tver, thereby restoring order in that city and winning the favor of the khan. For his show of loyalty, Ivan I was also granted the iarlyk and with this Moscow took yet another step towards prominence and power. Soon the princes of Moscow took over the responsibilities of collecting taxes throughout the land (and in doing so, taking part of these taxes for themselves) and eventually the Mongols gave this responsibility solely to Moscow and ended the practice of sending their own tax collectors. Yet Ivan I was more than a shrewd politician and exchequer of good judgment: he was perhaps the first prince to replace the traditional lateral line of succession with the vertical line (though this would not be fully achieved until the second Prince Vasilii’s reign in the mid-1400s (Hosking, 71-2)). This change brought more stability to Moscow and thus strengthened her position within the realm. As Moscow grew wealthier through being the main tax collector of the lands, its authority over several principalities became greater and more consolidated. The lands that Moscow gained equated with more taxes and more access to resources, and thus more power.

During the time that Moscow grew wealthier and more powerful, the Golden Horde was in a state of general decay, wrought with rebellions and coups. Prince Dmitrii decided to attack the Kazan khanate in 1376 and was successful. Not long after, one of the Mongol generals, Mamai, sought to create his own horde of sorts in the steppes west of the Volga River (Hosking, 79) and he decided to challenge the authority of Prince Dmitrii on the banks of the Vokha River; Dmitrii defeated Mamai, exciting his Muscovites and, naturally, angering the Mongols. However, Mamai chose to fight again and organized a contingent of 150,000 men; Dmitrii matched this number and their two armies met near the River Don at Kulikovo Pole (Kulikovo Field) in early September of 1380 (Dmytryshyn, 140). Dmitrii’s army, though suffering losses of some 100,000 men, defeated Mamai; Tokhtamysh, one of Tamerlane’s generals, soon captured and executed the general. Prince Dmitrii became known as Dmitrii Donskoi (of the Don). However, Moscow was soon sacked by Tokhtamysh, and once again had to pay tribute to the Mongols.

Yet the great battle of Kulikovo Pole in 1380 was a symbolic turning point. Even though Moscow suffered retribution for attacking Mongol armies, the power that Moscow welded would continue to grow and its influence over other Russian principalities would continue to expand. Novgorod finally succumbed to future capital in 1478, and Moscow soon shed any allegiance to the Mongol and Tatar overlords thus ending over 250 years of Mongol control.


As the evidence stands, the effects of the Mongol invasion were many, spread across the political, social, and religious facets of Russia. While some of those effects, such as the growth of the Orthodox Church generally had a relatively positive effect on the lands of the Rus, other results, such as the loss of the veche system and centralization of power assisted in halting the spread of traditional democracy and self-government for the various principalities. From the influences on the language and the form of government, the very impacts of the Mongol invasion are still evident today. Perhaps given the chance to experience the Renaissance, as did other western European cultures, the political, religious, and social thought of Russia would greatly differ from that of the reality of today. The Russians, through the control of the Mongols who had adopted many ideas of government and economics from the Chinese, became perhaps a more Asiatic nation in terms of government, while the deep Christian roots of the Russians established and helped maintain a link with Europe. It was the Mongol invasion which, perhaps more than any other historical event, helped to determine the course of development that Russian culture, political geography, history, and national identity would take.


Baiburov, R. “Russkie v dopetrovskuiu epokhu”, Nauka i Zhizn’. Accessed February, 2005.

Chronicle of Novgorod 1016 – 1471, The. Trans. Nevill Forbes and Robert Mitchell. Hattiesburg: Academic International/Orbis Academicus, 1970.

Crummey, Robert O. The Formation of Muscovy: 1304 – 1613. New York: LongmanInc., 1987.

Dmytryshyn, Basil. A History of Russia. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977.

Fennell, John. The Crisis of Medieval Russia: 1200 – 1304. New York: Longman Inc., 1983.

Halperin, Charles J. “George Vernadsky, Eurasianism, the Mongols, and Russia,” Slavic Review, Vol. 41, No. 3, Autumn, 1982: 477-493.

_____  Russia and the Golden Horde: The Mongol Impact on Medieval Russian History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

_____ “Russia in The Mongol Empire in Comparative Perspective”, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, V. 43, No. 1, June 1983: 239-261.

Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia and the Russians: A History. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001.

Kadyrbaev, A. Sh. «Золотая орда как предтеча российской империи», Центральная Азия и Кавказ. Accessed February, 2005.

Kargalov, V. V. Vneshne-Politicheskie Faktory Razvitiia Feodal’noi Rusi. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo “Vysshaia shkola”, 1967.

Martin, Janet. Medieval Russia, 980—1584. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Morgan, David. The Mongols. New York: Basil Blackwell Inc., 1987.

Nasonov, A. N. Mongoly i Rus’ (istoriia tatarskoi politiki na rusi). Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1940. Ed. C. H. Van Schooneveld. The Hague: Mouton, 1969.

Ostrowski, Donald. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-Cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier, 1304 – 1589. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Ostrowski, Donald. “The “tamma” and the Dual-Administrative Structure of the Mongol Empire”, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 61, No. 2, 1998: 262-277.

Rempel, Gerhard. Lecture: “The Tartar Yoke,” Accessed January 2005.

Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. A History of Russia. Sixth ed. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. 2000.

Shirokorad, A. B. Rus’ i Orda. Moscow: Izdatel’stskii dom “Veche”, 2004.

Wittfogel, Karl A. “Russia and the East: A Comparison and Contrast”, Slavic Review, Vol. 22, No. 4, December 1963: 627-643.


Traditional Mongolian Medicine in China

Traditional medical practices are enjoying a worldwide revival. Mongolian medicine, once criticized as unscientific, is now acknowledged to be highly effective. China and many Western countries are currently engaged in studying and promoting this ancient medical art.


Mongolian medical treatment traditionally uses a small amount of medicine to treat diseases. Costing less money, it is convenient and easy. Significantly, treatments are not traumatic. Today Mongolian medicine is frequently utilized for treating and preventing chronic and difficult diseases: stomach trouble, liver and gall disorder, coronary heart disease, gynecological disease, and problems related to blood, skin and bone.


Until this century the history of traditional Mongolian medicine and its achievements were known only among Asians. An important foundation of Mongolian medicine rests with Indian ayurvedic philosophy. When the Mongol Huns traveled through India and Central Asia during the 5th century BC they made contact with the Indian subcontinent. Their travels, together with the spread of Buddhism into Mongolia, confirmed evidence of ancient Mongolian ties with Indian medicine. Much was lost or forgotten until recently but in the 1990s Mongolian doctors from both China and Outer Mongolia began disseminating their knowledge in an attempt to preserve this precious knowledge. Today scholars are translating old sutras written in the Mongolian, Tibetan and Sanskrit languages into English, German and Chinese.


Mongolian medical texts are rooted in history; some are more than 800 years old. Records indicate that sometime around the 11th century, Mongolians created many medical therapies based upon their environment, culture and lifestyle. By the early 13th century, ancient Mongolian medicine coalesced into a sound medical theory based on unique clinical experiences. From the 14th century onwards during the second spread of Buddhism in Mongolia, Mongolians again borrowed and learned from Indian ayurvedic medicine; they translated many Indian books at this time. By the 16th century, ancient Indian medicine and Tibetan medicine had thoroughly integrated into Mongolian medicine.


Mongolian doctors or emchis became so adept that they have been respected in Central Asia and China for centuries. During the Ming and Qing dynasties these emchis served the Chinese court. They also absorbed Chinese theories, thus propelling the profession again into a new stage of development. Many new principals based on the integration of the ideas of the three cultures were formulated and put in practice. They are still used today.


During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) not only emchis but also thirty bone-setting Mongolian doctors called bariachis waited upon Chinese nobility. These doctors introduced various treatments: diet therapy, traditional moxibustion therapy, acupuncture therapy, blood letting therapy, mineral bath therapy, hot-sand therapy and mud therapy, to the northern Chinese.


Since the People’s Republic of China was founded it has heartily supported traditional Chinese and Mongolian medicine. In the 1950s Mongolian medicine added western scientific innovations to the vast body of traditional practices. The Chinese government has steadily promoted advances in Mongolian medical care, research and education. In 1958 the Department of Traditional Chinese and Mongolian Medicine at the Inner MongoliaMedicalCollege opened its doors to students. This year it expanded, opening a brand new, state of the art campus just outside of HohhotCity. The Chinese government has also established scores of Mongolian medicine hospitals since 1999, including 41 in Inner Mongolia, 3 in Xinjiang, and 1 each in Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Gansu and Qinghai.

Mongolian medical theory


Mongolian medicine grew out of life experiences focused around herding, wrestling, riding, and fighting on the vast grasslands. Traditionally the medical arts were under the auspices of the Buddhist lamas. These lama doctors guarded the accumulated knowledge of traditional medicine. Physicians studied the five medical arts: bloodletting, moxibustion, hydrotherapy, massage and acupuncture.


Bloodletting is used to relieve hotness factors caused by blood or by xila, a condition that provokes bleeding of wounds, plague, edema, abdominal distension, gout, tuberculosis, etc.


The ancient art of cupping allows movement of vital energy and the state of blood in the human body is improved and the disease is cured.


Mongolian moxibustion involves the practice of burning mugwort over acupuncture points. Tibetan medicine also adopted this technique. It is used in conjunction with acupuncture and massage to relieve pain and drive out illness.


Interestingly, Mongolians have always used water as medicine. They collected water from any source, including the sea, and stored for many years. Water therapy is used especially for stomach problems.


Another unique Mongolian treatment involves fermented mare’s milk, or koumiss. The koumiss treatment is a dietary treatment, reputed to strengthen people after weakness. It is also used to treat shock or pain in the chest or in heart area.


According to Mongolian medical theory, the human body and the nature are a unity of opposites. Nature has “five elements:” earth, water, fire, air and space, while the human body also consists of materials transformed from the “five elements.” Doctors explore three sources affecting the corporeal body: heyi or air, xila or heat and badagan or cold; and examine the seven primary components — food, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and sperm.


Mongolian medicine examines relationships between “heyi“, “xila“, and “badagan” to explain the physiological and pathological phenomenon in human body. “Heyi” is believed to be the body’s power to move.  It directs thinking, language, external and internal body movement. If “heyi” is unbalanced the healthy status of internal organs will diminish, manifesting as “abnormal mind”: sleeplessness and forgetfulness, even mental diseases. “Xila” conveys “hotness.” Body temperature, the heat of the organs and spirit are said to be determined by “xila.” Too much “xila” manifests in a bitter taste in mouth, sourness or anxiety in mood, and illness. “Badagan” is supposed to be a kind of sticky material in the body, having the nature of coldness. “Badagan” manifests as cold and flu, with much fluid secretion.


Thus, Mongolian practitioners examine the interrelationships between the sources and the seven components to find irregularities in order to present a diagnosis. Mongolian doctors also base diagnostics on a patient’s experience rather than the Western evaluation based on chemical or blood analyses, charts and X-ray films.


Even today some Mongolian medical doctors are also Buddhist monks, especially in Outer Mongolia. They recite daily prayers, meditate, perform ceremonies, bestow blessings and serve the worshippers with healing rituals to repel misfortune and sickness. Many draw horoscopes and make astrological calculations. These physicians give patients blessings to promote physical, emotional and mental harmony. They strive to relieve stress, depression, emotional upsets and negative states of mind. These healing methods are also available for children.


Not surprisingly, Mongolian medicinal cures are based on a combination of exploring the body’s balance, a man’s spiritual harmony and the natural environment. Ancient medical literature cites the use of minerals as medicine, usually in the form of powdered metals or stones. And plants, carefully gathered and harvested, remain the mainstay of Mongolian medicine. According to ancient doctors every plant has use as a medicine. Preserving, gathering and utilizing indigenous wild herbs are part of a Mongolian doctor’s education.


Another unique branch of Mongolian medicine is carried out by Bariachis — the specialist bone setters. These people work without medicines or instruments, relying only on their hands to manipulate bones back to their proper position. Bariachis are laymen, without medical training, and they are born into the job, following the family tradition. It appears that this traditional practice is in decline, and that no scientific research has been carried out into it. This treatment is reputed to cure illness linked to bone fracture, joint dislocation, or soft tissue damage. Bone setting treatment has six parts: renovation, fixing, massage, herbal bath, care and recovering. It has the function of releasing the poison and soothing the sinew and quickening the blood.



Dom is the Mongolian tradition of household cures. It is very old and based on superstition. For example: a picture of a donkey hung over a child’s bed will help it sleep. Dom includes counting the frequency of breathing. Similar to yoga breathing techniques, dom principals to control the breath does help relieve psychological problems and distress.


Today medical workers utilize modern laboratory tests along with traditional diagnostic processes. Doctors promote both drug and drugless methods. Medicinal herbs, powders and pills, as well as externally applied heating ointments are prescribed. The range of therapies runs the gauntlet from acupuncture with moxibustion, cranio-therapy (head massage), whole body massages with herbs and oils, diet control, bloodletting, cupping to indefinable spiritual methods using Buddhist rituals and meditation. Many Mongolian healing treatments may appear strange unless one realizes the intention is not simply to cure but to move the ill person out of the time, mind, and body space where the disease or ailment is.


Traditional medicines — Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan — have gained worldwide popularity, acting as an alternative to modern Western medicine which can be invasive, traumatic and dependant on chemicals. In recent years Inner Mongolia has renovated and expanded many of its medical schools  to meet the growing need of skilled traditional doctors. Educators have made great efforts to rationalize and scientifically understand traditional medical practices while simultaneously preserving the knowledge of traditional indigenous medicine. Today, even with the acceptance of high tech Western medical treatments, Mongolian medical arts remain popular among Chinese and Mongolians alike.


( by Valerie Sartor, July 30, 2007)

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Mongolian Language and Literature (base    classes, Arts and comprehensive class, Journalism, Publishing Editor, Audio    Engineer, Tourism Management (Mongolian delegate)

Chinese ethnic    minority language and literature, Specialized history, Ancient Chinese History,    Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Literature and Art, Journalism, Historical Philology, Comparative Literature    and World Literature, Religious Studies, History of China’s Ethnic Minorities    (Mongolia Science Center)

Minority language and literature (Mongolian    language and literature, Altaic language, Central Asia and Northern China    National Ancient Writing, Compute,r Mongolian information processing, Experimental    Phonetics, etc.), Specialized History (Mongolian History and Northern China    National History, etc.), History of China’s Ethnic Minorities (Mongolia    Science Center)

Institute of Ethnology and Sociology

Ethnology, Social    Work, Sociology


College of Life Sciences

Biotechnology,Biological Sciences, Ecology, Environmental    Science, Bio-engineering,

Ecology,Environmental    Science,Botany,Zoology, Microbiology, Pratacultural, Biochemistry and Molecular    Biology, Biological Engineering (Master of Engineering), Environmental    Engineering (Master of Engineering)

Ecology, Zoology,    Botany, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Literature    and the College of Journalism and Communications

Chinese Language and    Literature, Journalism, PublishingEditor, Zenith to literature and    history

Ancient Chinese Literature, Chinese language    learning, Literature and Art, World Literature and    Comparative Literature, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature ,Journalism

College of History, Tourism and Culture

History, Tourism Management, Zenith to    literature and history

World History,    Ancient Chinese History, Modern Chinese History, Specialized History,    Archeology and Museology

College of Philosophy

Philosophy, Zenith to literature and history

Philosophy, Zenith to literature and history

Institute of Public Administration

Public Utilities management,    Administration,         Political Science    andAdministration, Labor and Social Security, Social Work

Administration,    Political science theory, Master of Public Administration, Marxist theory,

The Basic Tenets of    Marxism

Law    School

Law, Philosophy

Civil and Commercial    Law Studies, Procedural Law, Constitution and Administrative Law, Legal    History, Master of Laws

Foreign    Languages Institute

English, Japanese,    Russian

Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Japanese    Language and Literature, English Language and Literature, Russian Language    and Literature

College    of Mathematical Sciences

Mathematics and    Applied Mathematics, Information and Computing Science, Several of Science    Base

Mathematics, Basic Mathematics Applied Mathematics, Applied Mathematics,    Operations Research and Cybernetics, Computational Mathematics, Probability    Theory and Mathematical Statistics

Probabi Theory and Mathematical Statistics

College of Physical    Science and Technology

Physics, Applied Physics, Electronic    Science and Technology

Theoretical Physics, Condensed matter    physics, Optical, Biophysics, Physical electronics, Physical electronics and    optoelectronics, Physics

Theoretical Physics, Biophysical

College of Electronic    Information Engineering

Electronic Information Science and Technology, Electronic Science    and Technology,Communication Engineering, Automation

Signal and Information Processing,    Pattern Recognition and Intelligent System, Electronic and communication    engineering, Control Engineering

College of Chemistry and    Chemical Engineering

Chemical Basics, Applied Chemistry,    Materials Chemistry (Rare Earth Materials),    Chemical, Chemical Engineering and Technology

Inorganic    Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry,    Environmental Science, Material Physics and Chemistry, Applied Chemistry,    Medicinal Chemistry (under the polymer with the Mongolian Institute of    Chemistry), Chemical, Materials Science and Engineering, ,Chemical    Engineering and Technology, Environmental Science and Engineering

College of Economics and    Managemet

Economics, Finance, International    Economics and Trade Business Administration, Human Resources Management, Accounting,    Financial Management

Master of Business Administration (MBA),    Enterprise Management, Regional Economics, Political Economics, Finance,    Accounting, Chinese Ethnic Economy

Computer College

Computer Science and Technology,    Information Management and Information System, E-commerce

Computer Software and Theory, Computer    Application Technology, Computer System Structure, Management Science and    Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, Computer Technology, Software    Engineering

Computer    Application Technology

College of the Arts

Radio and presided over the arts, Choreographer, Performances (dance performances, film shows, two of Taiwan’s performance, costume design and performance), Public utilities management (Culture and Arts Management) Art theory, Painting, Animation, Art Design, Art and Design, Sculpture, Music theory, Music Performance, Composer with the composer technology theory

Literature and    Art, Art, Music, Art theory

Traffic School

Civil Engineering, Transportation

International College of    Education

Long-term and short-term language    training: the Mongolian language, Chinese language

Professor Michal Biran, Scholar from the Hebrew University


Professor Michal Biran

Research Interests:

Inner Asian history; cross-cultural contacts between China, the Muslim world and Europe; the Mongol empire and its legacy; Khitans and Qara Khitai; history of  traditional China; history of the medieval Middle East; world history; mobility; migrations;  nomadism; conversion; ethnicity and identity; collective memory; military history; historiography.

Research Projects:

  1. Mobility, Empire and      Cross-Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia (funded by ERC) Link to Project’s website,      Project Description
  2. Central Asia under Mongol Rule: Rulers, Subjects and Emigrants of the Chaghadaid Khanate (1220-1405) (funded by ISF) Project Description
  3. The Mongol Conquest of Baghdad Revisited: 1258-2008Part a: A Social History of Ilkhanid Baghdad (1250-1350).
  4. The Neglected Silk Roads:  Cross-Cultural Contacts in the 10th-12th centuries.


English, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Russian, French, German, Hebrew



  • 2000 – Ph.D: Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dissertation entitled “China, Nomads and Islam: The Qara Khitai (Western Liao) Dynasty (1124-1218)”. Awarded Summa Cum Laude.
  • 1993 – M.A.: Inner Asian Studies under Individual Studies for M.A. program, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Graduated Summa Cum Laude.
  • 1989 – B.A.: Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department, East Asian Department, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Graduated Summa Cum Laude.
  • 1995-96 Special student affiliated to the committee of Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, Harvard University.
  • 1991-92 Non-degree studies in Shandong University , PRC.
  • Summer 1993 – Russian Language course in Moscow University, Russia.
  • Summer 1990 – Classical Chinese course in Middlebury College’s Chinese Summer School, Vermont, USA.


Positions held


  • 2005 – Associate Professor, Dept. of East Asian Studies and Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
    2002-2005 – Lecturer, Dept. of East Asian Studies and Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2001-02 –  Member, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, USA.
  • 2000-01 –  Dr-Instructor, Dept. of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Dept. Of East-Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 2-8/2000 – Fellow and group Co-organizer, Institute of Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 1998-2000, 1996-8; 1992-5 – Instructor (a-c), Dept. of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Dept. Of East-Asian Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Awards and Fellowships

  • 2012The Anneliese Maier Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • 2012 -ERC Starting Grant 312397 :”Mobility Empire and Cross-Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia” (2013-2017) 
  • 2012 – ISF grant 602/12 for the project; “Central Asia under Mongol Rule: Rulers, Subjects and Emigrants of the Chaghdaid Khanate.”
  • 2007 – The Landau Prize for Research and Sciences (history of East Asia and its cultures)
  • 2006-9 – The Michael Bruno Prize, Rothschild Foundation (Middle Eastern Studies) {frozen 2007-2011 for personal reasons}
  • 2006 – ISF grant for workshop at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Hebrew University: Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change.
  • 2004-5 – The Yoram Ben-Porat Presidential Prize for Excelling Young Researcher, The Hebrew University of Jerusalen.
  • 2004-7 – Grant no. 818\03 of the Israel Academy of Sciences, for the project: “The Steppe People after the Mongol Conquests: Changes of Ethnicity and Identity: The Khitan Case.”
  • 2003/4-2006 – Alon fellowship for new lecturers, Council for Higher Education in Israel
  • 2002-3 – Golda Meir Fellowship, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 2001-2 – Fellow, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA.
  • 2001-2 – Fulbright grant for Post-doc studies.
  • 2001 – Kennedy-Leigh Prize for Ph.D dissertation, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 2-8/2000 – Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Co-organizer of a Research Group entitled “The Interaction of Nomadic Rulers with Sedentary Peoples: Turco-Mongolian Nomads in China and in the Middle East (1000-1500AD)”.
  • 1996-98, 1994-95 The Rotenstreich’s scholarship for writing a Ph.d dissertation, Council for Higher Education in Israel
  • 1995-96 Rothschild fellowship
  • 1995-96 Fulbright grant for graduate student
  • 1994 A Rothschild Foundation’s grant for translating and editing a manuscript for publication.
  • 1993 Scholarship for Russian language summer course in Moscow University, Russian Studies Department.
  • 1993 The Wolf Foundation’s Scholarship for M.A. studies, Faculty of Humanities.
  • 1991-92 Scholarship for one-year studies in the PRC, Israel Academy of Science and Humanities and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • 1991 The Rector’s Award for M.A. student, Hebrew University
  • 1990 Scholarship for participation in Middlebury College’s Chinese summer-school, East Asian Studies department.
  • 1990 The East-Asian department’s award for excelling M.A. student.
  • 1990 The Wolf Foundation’s scholarship for M.A. studies, Faculty of Humanities.
  • 1989-91 Two-years excellence scholarship for M.A. studies, Faculty of Humanities.
  • 1989 The Dean’s award, Faculty of Humanities
  • 1988 The Dora Shikman’s award for excellence in Chinese Studies, East-Asian Department.
  • 1987 The Rector’s award for B.A. student, Hebrew University


List of Publications



  • Books

Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon press, 1997.

Reviews in
  • Times Literary Supplement, 22.1.99;
  • Mongolian Studies, XXI (1998), 87-89;
  • Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62/3 (1999), 589-90;
  • Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies, 29 (1999), 202-214;
  • International Journal of Middle East Studies, 32/2 (May 2000), 284-287;
  • Journal of the American Oriental Society, 120/1 (2000), 139-40;
  • Bulletin critique des annales islamiques, no. 6, 2000, 94-95
Chinggis KhanMichal Biran. x+182pp, One World Publications, Oxford, 2007 (in the series “The Makers of the Muslim World).
  • Books Edited

Edited, With Reuven Amitai. Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the World. Leiden: Brill, 2005
Reviews in
  • Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, Eurasian Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change. Forthcoming in Hawaii University Press (“New Perspectives on the Global Past” series).

Articles in Collections

  • Michal Biran. “Qarakhanid Eastern Trade: Preliminary Notes on the Silk Roads in the 11th-12th centuries,”  in Jan Bemmann, ed.  Empires, Cities, Nomads, Farmers. Forthcoming in Bonn Contribution to Asian Archaeology , 2014.
  • Michal Biran.  “Music in the Conquest of Baghdad: Safi al-Din Urmawi and the Ilkhanids Circle of Musicians,” in  Bruno DeNicola, ed. The Mongols in the Iddle Easst. Forthcoming in Leiden: Brill, 2013.
  • Michal Biran. “Central Asia from the Conquest of Chinggis Khan to the Rise of Tamerlane: The Ögodeied and Chaghadaid Realms.” In Peter  B. Golden, Nicola Di Cosmo and Allan Frank, eds.  The Cambridge History of Inner Asia vol. 2: The Chinggisid Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 46-66.
  • Michal Biran. “Between China and Islam: The Administration of the Qara Khitai Empire.” In David Sneath, editor. Imperial Statecrafts: Political Forms and Techniques of Governance in Inner Asia C6th- C20th. 25pp. Western Washington University Press.
  • Michal Biran. “Ilak-khanids (or Qarakhanids).” In  Encyclopedia Iranica, vol. XII, 621-28. 8pp. 2005,  Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Michal Biran. ”True To Their Ways: Why the Qara Khitai did not Convert to Islam,” In Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, eds.  Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World.  25pp, 2005, E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  • Michal Biran. “The Battle of Herat (1270): A Case of Inter-Mongol Warfare.” In Nicola Di Cosmo, ed. Warfare in Inner Asia. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002: 175-220.
  • Michal Biran, “The Mongol Transformation: From the Steppe to Eurasian Empire.” In Johan P. Arnason and Björn Wittrock, eds. Eurasian Transformations Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries: Crystallizations, Divergences, Renaissances.  23pp. 2004, E. J. Brill, Leiden and Boston.
  • Michal Biran. ”True To Their Ways: Why the Qara Khitai did not Convert to Islam,” In Reuven Amitai and
  • Michal Biran, eds. Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World.   Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2005: 175-169.
  • Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran. “Introduction.” In Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, eds. Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2005, 1-13.
  • Michal Biran. “Ilak-khanids (or Qarakhanids).” In Encyclopedia Iranica, vol. XII, 621-28. 8pp. 2005, Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Michal Biran. “Between China and Islam: The Administration of the Qara Khitai Empire.” In David Sneath, ed. Imperial Statecrafts: Political Forms and Techniques of Governance in Inner Asia C6th- C20th. Bellingham, WA: Western Washington University Press, 2006: 63-84.
  • Michal Biran. “Central Asia from the Conquest of Chinggis Khan to the Rise of Tamerlane: The Ögodeied and Chaghadaid Realms.” In Peter B. Golden, Nicola Di Cosmo and Allan Frank, eds.  The Cambridge History of Inner Asia vol. 2: The Chinggisid Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 46-66.
  • Michal Biran. “The Mongols and Nomadic Identity: The Case of the Khitans of China.” In Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, eds. Eurasian Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change. Forthcoming in Hawaii University Press. 25pp.
  • Michal Biran. “Introduction: Nomadic Culture.” In Reuven Amitai and Michal Biran, eds. Eurasian Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change. Forthcoming in Hawaii University Press. 15pp.
  • Michal Biran. “Rulers and City Life in Mongol Central Asia (1220-1370).” In David Durand-Guedy, ed. Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City-life in Iran and the Neighboring Countries. Forthcoming in Leiden: Brill.35pp.
  • Michal Biran. “The Mongols and the Inter-Civilizational Exchange. ” In Benjamin Z. Kedar and Merry Wiesner-Hanks , eds. The Cambridge History of the World: Vol. 5 Forthcoming in Cambridge University Press. 28 +12 pp.

Articles in Journals

Hebrew Publications (Articles and Chapters):

Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, and Shorter Publications::

    • Michal Biran, 2000. Review of Charles Melville’s The Fall of Amir Chupan and the Decline of the Ilkhanate, 1327-37: A Decade of Discord in Mongol Iran. Iranian Studies, 33/1-2: 245-6.
    • Michal Biran, 2001. “China, Nomads and Islam: The Qara Khitai (Western Liao) Dynasty, 1124-1218: Dissertation Abstract. Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies, 31: 363-5.
    • Michal Biran, 2002.  Review of Matthew S. Gordon’s The Breaking of a Thousand Swords. A History of the Turkish Military of Samarra. International History Review, 24/2: 389-91.
    • Michal Biran, 2003 [2004]. Review of Thomas T. Allsen’s Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 123.2: 446-7.
    • Michal Biran, Review of George Lane’s Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth Century Iran: A Persian Renaissance. Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 30 (2005).
    • Michal Biran, 2006a. “Genghis Khan.” In Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia (New York and London: Routledge), ed. J. W. Meri, 1: 280-82.
    •  Michal Biran, 2006b. “Silk Roads.” In Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia (New York and London: Routledge), ed. J. W. Meri, 2: 745-9.
    •  Michal Biran, 2006c. “Tamerlane.” In Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia (New York and London: Routledge), ed. J. W. Meri, 2:796-8.
    • Michal Biran,  2007 [2012]. Review of Linda Komaroff (ed). Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan (Leiden: Brill, 2006), MESA bulletin,  41.2 :204-205.
    •   Michal Biran, 2008. Review of Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought. Itinerario: International Journal on European Expansion and Global interaction. 32: 146-148.
    •   Michal Biran, 2009a. “Jochi,” Encyclopedia Iranica,  15: 1-2.
    •  Michal Biran, 2009b. “Jovayni, Shams al-Din,” Encyclopedia Iranica, 15:                    71-74.
    •  Michal Biran, 2009c. Review of Istvan Vasary’s Cumans and Tatars. Canada Slavonic Papers, 51/2: 352-3. \
    •  Michal Biran, 2009d. Review of Anne F. Broadbridge. Kingship and Ideology in the Islamic and Mongol World. Journal of Central Eurasian Studies, 1: 111-15.
    • Michal Biran. 2010. Studies on the Mongol Empire from the Perspective        of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (1989-2009). ” Perspectives and Research Trends on the Conquest Dynasties in Foreign Scholarship (Seoul),2: 149-64 [Published in Korean].
    •  Michal Biran, 2011. Review of David M. Robinson, Empire’s Twilight:          Northeast Asia under the Mongols. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies,  71/2: 370-77.
    • Michal Biran, 2013. Review of Timothy May’s ‘The Mongol Conquests in World History’ The Journal of Asian Studies, 72, 465-467. doi:10.1017/S0021911813000260.
  • Michal Biran,  2013. “Transoxania.” In Gerhard Bowering, Patricia Crone et. al. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, 360-361.
  • Michal Biran, forthcoming-a “Chapar b. Ḳaydū”, Enciclopedia of Islam, 3rd edition.


Papers Read in Conferences


  •  Michal Biran “Sinicization outside of China? – The Case of the Western Liao (Qara Khitai) 1124-1218.” Paper read in the 1999 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Asian Studies, Boston, March 1999.
  • Michal Biran. “Conquerors and Conquered in the Army: Auxiliary Forces in Pre-Mongol and Mongol Central Asia.” Paper read at the weekly seminar of the Research Group “The Interaction of Nomadic Rulers with Sedentary People: Turco-Mongolian Nomads in China and the Middle East”, Institute of Advanced Studies, Jerusalem, May 2000.
  • Michal Biran. “China, Nomads and Islam: Nomad-Sedentary Relations under the Qara Khitai (Western Liao).” Paper read at the conference “Euroasian Nomads and the Outside World,” Institute of Advanced Studies, Jerusalem, June 2000.
  • Michal Biran. “China, Nomads and Islam: Multi-Culturalism under the Qara Khitai (Western Liao) 1124-1218.” Paper read at the 7th European Conference of Central Asian Studies, Vienna, September 27-30, 2000.
  • Michal Biran. “The Chaghadaids and Islam: The Conversion of Tarmashirin Khan (1331-1334).” Paper read at the 2nd conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Madison, WI, October 11-14, 2001.
  • Michal Biran. “The Chaghadaid Mongols and Islam: The Conversion of Tarmashirin Khan (1331-1334).” Lecture, the Institute for Advanced Study Islamic Seminar, Princeton NJ, November 28, 2001.
  • Michal Biran. “Muslims, Mongols and Chinese: The Khitans after the Mongol Conquest.” Lecture, the East Asian Seminar, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, February 12, 2002.
  • Michal Biran.“Why did not the Qara Khitai (1124-1218) convert to Islam?” Lecture, the Historical Studies Colloquia, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, March 4, 2002.
  • Michal Biran. “The Mongols in Central Asia and Islam: The Conversion of Tarmashirin Khan,” Paper read at The Mongolia Society 41st Annual Meeting, Washington DC, April 4-6, 2002
  • Michal Biran. “China, Nomads and Islam: Nomad-Sedentary Relations under the Qara Khitai.” Invited lecture, the Inner Asian and Altaic Studies Seminar, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, May 1st 2002.
  • Michal Biran. “Mongols, Turks and Chinese: The Khitans after the Mongol Conquests.” Paper read at the workshop “The Age of Nomadic Power,” Davis Center, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, July 12-13, 2002.
  • Michal Biran. “Mongols, Muslims or Chinese: Khitan States after the Mongol Conquest.” Paper read at the International Conference of Mongol-Yuan Studies, Nanjing University, PR China, August 12-14, 2002.
  • Michal Biran. “Mongols, Turks and Chinese: Khitans in China after the Mongol Conquest.” Paper read at the 2nd conference of East Asian Studies in Israel, January 20, 2003.
  • Michal Biran. “Eurasian Transformations 10th-13th centuries: The Mongol Case.” Paper read at the workshop “Eurasian Transformations 11th –13th centuries: An Ecumenical Renaissance?” Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala June 26-27, 2003.
  • Michal Biran. “From the Accursed to the Revered Father: Chinggis Khan in the Muslim World (13th-14th Centuries).” Paper Read at the 4th annual conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Harvard University, Cambridge MA, October 2-5, 2003.
  • Michal Biran. “From Mongols to Chinese: The Khitans after the Mongol Conquests.” Paper read at the International Symposium on Nomadic and Sedentary People in Past and Present,Universities of Halle-Wittenberg and Leipzig, Wittenberg, Germany, November 27 -29 , 2003.
  • Michal Biran.”Chinggis Khan in China: From Barbarian Conqueror to National Hero.” Paper read in the 3rd Conference of East Asian Studies in Israel, Haifa, February 1-2 , 2004.
  • Michal Biran. “Between China and Islam: The Administration of the Qara Khitai Empire.” Paper read at the ” Symposium on Inner Asian Statecrafts and Technologies of Governance, The Mongolian and Inner Asian Studies Unit, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge UK, March 18-19, 2004.
  • Michal Biran. “Turkishness and Islam among the Qara Khitai (12th-16th centuries).” Paper Read at the 2nd International Congress of Turkish Civilizations, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan October 4-7, 2004.
  • Michal Biran. “The Position of the Ruler in Central Asia.” In the Roundtable “The Position of the Ruler in Asia” at the 4th annual Israeli Conference for Asian Studies, May 29-30, 2005.
  • Michal Biran. “Culture and Cross-Cultural Contacts in the Chaghadaid Realm (1220-1370).” Paper read at the 6th annual conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society. Boston University, MA, USA, September 29- October 2, 2005.
  • Michal Biran. “The Mongols and Nomadic Identity: The Case of the Khitans in China.” Paper read at the international research workshop of the Israel Science Foundation, “Eurasian Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change”, Jerusalem, Institute for Advanced Studies, HU, June 5-8 2006.
  • Michal Biran. “Mongol Diet: From Mice and Dogs to Gourmet Fusion Cuisine.” Paper read at the 5th Conference of East Asian Studies in Israel, Tel Aviv, June 11-12 2006.
  • “Cross-Cultural Contacts in the Chaghadaid Realm (1220-1370).” Paper read at the Second International Conference of Medieval History of the Eurasian Steppe, Jászberény, Hungary, May 24–26, 2007.
  • “Culture and Cross-Cultural Contacts in the Chaghadaid Khanate (1260-1370).” Paper read at the conference “The Middle Ages Now,” Bar Ilan University, March 27, 2008.
  • “The Non-Existant Corpus of the Chaghadaid Khanate.” Paper read at the conference Les correspondances diplomatiques dans l’Orient musulman (XIe-XVIIe s.)    Istanbul, April 9-10, 2008.
  • “Intellectuals and the State in Central Asia.” In the roundtable: Intellectuals, State and Society in Asia” in the 7th annual Israeli conference for Asian Studies, Jerusalem, May 21-22, 2008.
  • “Migrations, Religious and Ethnic Changes in the Wake of the Mongol Empire.” Paper read at the 18th Meeting of World History Association, London, June 25-28, 2008.
  • “Rulers and City Life in Mongol Central Asia.” Paper read at the conference: Turco-Mongolian Rulers, Cities and City-life in Iran and the neighboring Countries; Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, Japan September 12-13 2009.
  •  “Chinggis Khan in China and the Muslim World: Between Hero and Anti-Hero.” Paper read at the Joint conference of the Hebrew University and the National University of Mongolia From Mongol Empire to Modern Mongolia, National University of Mongolia,Ulaan Baatar, August 13, 2010.
  • “Khitan Migrations in Inner Asia.” Paper read at the international conference “Conquest, Migration and Cultural Exchanges in Central Eurasia,” Seoul, 3 December 2010.
  • “The Mongol Empire in World History.” In the International Workshop”The Cambridge History of the World Volume 5,” Jerusalem, Institute for Advanced Studies, HU, February 6-8, 2011.
  • “Who Counted Kin and How: Warrior Groups, State Regimes and Social Boundaries in Central, East and South Asia, ca. 1200-1850ce,”  Chair and discussant  in Joint Conference of the Association of Asian Studies and             International Convention of Asia Scholars, Honolulu, Hawaii March 31-April 3, 2011.
  • “The Mongol Conquest of Baghdad 1258-2008.” Paper read at the 10th Annual Israeli Conference for Asian  Studies, Jerusalem, May 24-26, 2011.
  • “Qarakhanid Eastern Trade: The Silk Roads in the 11th-12th Centuries.” Paper read at the international conference The Complexity of Interaction along the Eurasian Steppe Zone in the First Millenium AD: Empires, Cities, Nomads, Farmers, Bonn, February 9-11.2012.
  • “Migrations in the Mongol Empire: Types and Some Consequences.” Paper read at the Sino-Israeli Workshop: New Perspectives on Pre-Modern Chinese History. Jerusalem March 11-12, 2012.
  • “World Conquest and Imperial Space in the Mongol Empire.” Paper read at the nternational workshop Imperial Space: The Organization of Near Eastern Empires from the Second Millenium BC to the Second Millenium AD, Topoi Excellence Center, Berlin, May 3-5, 2012.


Papers read in conferences:

  •  “Central Asian Diasporas in Mongol Eurasia: Formation, Interaction and Impact”
    Paper read at the WorldWideAsia: Asian Flows, Global Impacts conference, Leiden, 31/8-1.9.2012.
  • “Violence and Non-Violence in the Mongol Conquest of Baghdad,” Paper read at the 3rd LIVIT conference on Legitimate and Ilegitimate Violence in the Islamic World, Exeter, UK, September 3-4, 2012.
  • “The Mongol Conquest of Baghdad Revisited: Between Violence and Restoration.” Paper read at the conference: Chinggis Khan and Globalization: The 850 anniversary of Chinggis Khan’s Birthday, Ulaan Baatar,  November 13-15, 2012.
  • “The Fall and Rise of Baghdad under Mongol Rule: Between History and Memory.” Paper read at the Winter Academy: Collapse, Jerusalem,  December 9-15, 2012.
    “Scholarship and Science under the Qara Khitai (1124-1218)”. Paper read at “The Idea of Iran” Symposium, SOAS, London,  February 9, 2013.
  •  “Music in the Conquest of Baghdad: Safi al-Din Urmawi and the Ilkhanid circle of Musicians”. Paper read at the MEISAI conference, TAU, June 6, 2013.


Related Project: The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire

Editors: Michal Biran and  Kim Hodong

The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire studies the Mongol Empire from a holistic point of view, it its full Eurasian context. It scrutinizes the Empire as a multi-faceted phenomenon—one that combined elements from various Asian imperial traditions (particularly steppe, Islamic, Persian, and Sinitic empires)—which has had a broad and enduring impact on world history.

The enterprise includes two volumes: a thematic volume and a volume dedicated to sources for the study of the Empire. Volume One features The Political History of the Mongol Empire; Themathic Histories (inc. institutions, army, economic, artistic and scientific exchanges; ideology, ethnicity; gender); Regional Histories of particular subject regions (e.g. Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, Rus); and External Histories, that explore the Chinggisids’ impact on regions outside their empire’s borders (e.g. Western Europe and the Mediterranean; South Asia (India); Maritime Asia; The Arab Middle East). Volume Two studies the literary, archaeological, and visual sources on the Mongol empire, along with attendant discussions and analysis. The discussion of the literary sources, which comprise the lion’s share of this volume, is arranged according to the most pertinent languages and includes chapters reffering to sources in 16 languages.

The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire draws on a diverse array of contributors, from Asia, America and Europe in various stages in their careers. The book is expected to be out in 2017.

Library Service in Minority Communities in China

By Zhang Guirong, Alatancang and Delger


Date : 07/06/2006

134 Library Services to Multicultural Populations

Simultaneous Interpretation: Yes


20-24 August 2006, Seoul, Korea



China minority area libraries possess plenty of national documents and local documents. So far, minority area libraries have relied on these documents, and offer characteristic service for the readers. Along with the arrival of network times, the routine of the reader service of minority area libraries has changed basically, such as the changes of service ideas, service contents, service ways. In this paper, we talked about the present service situation, the library service under network environment, existing problems of Chinese minority area libraries. And also have given suggestions and thoughts for Chinese minority area libraries, as well as introduced the special aspects in the reader service routine of minority area libraries. At the same time, also have analyzed and studied on the series of problems as how to improve the minority area library service abilities and levels, under the network environment, hoping to get

some valuable methods and experiences that is helpful for development of Chinese minority area libraries.


Keywords: Minority area libraries Reader service China


China is a unified multinational country, has 56 nationalities. The most of the population is consisted of Han nationality, and a small part is consisted of other 55 nationalities comparatively, because of the population size, the small part is called as minority on habit. The minorities have the population of more than one hundred million, takes the 8.41% of the total population. China now has the 5 Autonomous Regions, the 30 Autonomous Areas or Zhous and the 120 Autonomous Counties. The area of minority territory takes the 64% of the whole territory and these places mostly locate in the border areas and western China. This is the Chinese national area that this paper claims. According to an incomplete statistics: There are 596 minority area public libraries, 210 college libraries. The quantity of the whole collections in theses libraries is more than 50million volumes, in China now. China has 55 minorities, except Manchu and Hui people have adopted to use Chinese characters; the others of 29 minorities have their own written languages that consistent with their own languages. There are more than 500,000 volumes of documents in minority languages in China. There are 36 national or minority publishing houses, have been printing over 3,000 kinds of books and more than 400 periodicals in minority languages in each year in China. These documents are playing important parts on developing our country’s minority culture, cultural exchanges between nationalities, minority area economic growth, advanced science and technology, education etc. And they are the

material foundations for developing information services in minority area libraries.


1. The Present Situation of the Library Services in Minority communities in China

1.1 Offering Service for Construction of Nationalities Studies

There are two aspects in offering service for construction of Nationalities Studies: On the one hand, offer service for the construction of the nationalities research subjects. As some of the minority area libraries maintain the minority documents resources as their main construction, improving investment and setting up special funds, so that ensure the collecting and development of minority document resources for our Nationalities Studies. Concerning Nationalities Studies, taking a full advantage of the library resources, these libraries have compiled and published various bibliographies, indexes and abstracts. Some of such works have already been done, for instance, the Catalogue of Ancient Mongolian Books of China and Catalogue of Mongolian Ganjuur and Danjuur and the Index of Mongolian Studies Works by Inner Mongolia University Library; Catalogue of Tujia Documents and Catalogue of Miao Documents by Jilin University Library; Catalogue of Chinese Minority History Research Works Index and Abstracts of China Minority Ancient Books by Library of Central University for Nationalities, etc. These have very high academic values and reference values, and also have been playing an important role in the construction of Nationalities Studies. On the other hand, with various ways and means, developing the research service programs of all-directional, high level and poly-sided. For instance, in recent years, Inner Mongolia University Library have carried out some service programs, such as “ Nomadic Culture of the Nation”, “An Encyclopedia of Mongolian Customs”, “An Encyclopedia of Mongolian Studies”, “A Study on Mongolian Historical Materials of Qing Dynasty and Relationship between Manchu and Mongols”, “the Present Situation of the Steppe Animal Husbandry and a Countermeasure Research”, “a Study on the Cell Standing in Mongolian Sheep Ovary

Occurrence”, “a Biological Research on the Camel Intestines Muniment Elements”; the service programs of JiShou University Library are: “a Research to the Cultural Pattern and the Social Market Economy of Minority Area of Southwest China”, “a Research to the Economical Development Pattern of the Minority Area of the Hunan Province”, “a Study on the National Sport Culture of Mountain Village Inhabits in Minority Area of Southwest China”,etc. All of them are based on reality of these places. These research programs have put forward a lot of valuable viewpoints and countermeasures, and the accomplishments have gotten certain social benefits.


1.2 Network Information Service

1.2.1 Library Resource Searching –Web OPAC Service

Among the minority area libraries, province-level public libraries and college or academic libraries’ network level are higher than other libraries generally, most of them have built websites, and have developed a series of network information resource services. As the Library OPAC Service is greatly welcomed by the users, as it offers possibilities of searching or reading no local limitations. There are new book introductions or notices, borrowing appointment, giving suggestions or ideas, book comments, guide to the information searching, and almost everything on the network, and it is easy to communicate between the librarians

and readers; besides, some national area libraries have carried out the cooperation between library in nation-wide or regional scope, built integrated retrieval system, and offered joint catalog inquiry service.

1.2.2 The Information Searching and Reference Service on Network

The reference service on web is an important part of library service under network

environment. If we want to develop minority area local documents, we should put forth our efforts to strengthen national local documents digitalization and network construction, and it is the prerequisite of developing reference service and information retrieval on network. For instance, Library of Dali Bai Minority Autonomous Area based on the Collections of Documents of the NanZhao Dali State and has established the database of Special Topic Index of Research Library of Dali of NanZhao, which has clear local characteristics after digitalized, from its establishment, has carried out computer retrieval. These secondary documents, stimulate readers’ demand for the original documents; the thought of “Possess and Get” is recognized, and made the information searching and reference service on network become more and more popular, have improved the service level of minority area library greatly. The users can exchange the requests through the network, such as Email, and then librarians or computer could give the answers at once. The network information service that minority area libraries develop has opened up the scope and depth of library information service. Inner Mongolia University Library, as being the CALIS document information service center of Inner Mongolia, has run the fictitious reference consulting system in Inner Mongolian college system, are offering real time reference and information retrieval service on network now.

1.2.3 Network Resource Navigation Service

Minority area libraries, according to the demand of reader, should specify the user crowd, and select the resources that have regional characteristic, subject characteristic, national characteristic and language characteristic, and establish the special subject navigation database. The libraries also legally download the related websites and related web pages, form the

special subject mirror database for readers. At the same time, have to solve the problem of network information stability further. The key subject academic resource navigation is the part of CALIS project plan, to realize unified platform, unified interface, unified style and unified standards step by step. Inner Mongolia University have undertaken the construction task of the subject navigation database of Mongolian Studies and Life Science, now have formed its beginning scale, and has offered plenty of services for the key subject constructions.

1.3 The Local Characteristic Service

The local characteristic service is the key service and important development of minority area libraries. The local characteristic service of minority area libraries changes along with the change of the times. Under network environment, its service intension of the development is towards localization and elaboration. This major expression is in some following aspects:

1.3.1 Compiling and Establishment of Catalogues, Indexes and Summary Databases

Bibliographies, indexes, abstract databases are the foundation of developing computer

service, and the effective channels of developing characteristic service, too. By establishment of these bibliographies, indexes and abstract and databases, can reveal the local document resources efficiently, and it is convenient to o offer characteristic service. Such as Guangxi Documents’ Index, Guangxi Local Documents’ Information Index by Guangxi Library and Guangxi Tongzhi Library; Korean Documents’ Bibliography Database by Library of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Area; Bibliography Database of the Books by Library of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region; Tibetan Bibliography Database by Tibetan University Library; Ningxia Local Documents Bibliography Database, Ningxia Local Characteristic Documents Bibliography Database by Ningxia Library; Special Topic Index of Research Library of Dali of Nanzhao by Library of Dali Bai Minority Autonomous Area; Mongolian Documents Bibliography Database , Ancient Mongolian Books Bibliography Database, etc.

1.3.2 The Constructions of Full Text, Special Subject and Characteristic Databases

The full text, special subject and characteristic databases are extension and development of the bibliographies, indexes, and abstract databases, and the necessary of developing the characteristic service of high level and high quality. Such as Yunnan Travel Database, the Yunnan Nationalities Customs Information Database by Yunnan Province Library; the Southwest Minorities Historical and Cultural Database – Qiang Nationality Volume, the Bashu Culture (Local Documents) Database, the Southwest National Cultural Database by Sichuan Province Library; the Collections of Guangxi Famous Person, the Collections of the Guangxi National Custom Pictures, the Guangxi Travel, the Guangxi Figures, the Guangxi Popular Science by Guangxi Zhuang Minority Autonomous Region;Guizhou Minority Cultural Database, the Yelang Culture Database by Guizhou Province Library; Qiang Minority Documents Information Database, the Western China Development Project Information Resource Database ; Mongolian Studies Database, Mongolian Studies Characteristic Database by Inner Mongolia University Library; Hui Minority Documents and Islam Documents Database by the Library of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which just under establishing. These databases offer various retrieval searches; have offered very convenient and time saving condition for users.

1.3.3 Establishment of the Local and National Document Resource Databases

To fit the regional and national characteristics, some minority area libraries have established some local document resource databases; have stressed the local characteristics more. Such as Guangxi Historical Figures, Information Database of Inner Mongolian Regional Aspects, the Full Text and Picture Database of Guilin Local Resources has been built by Guilin Library, etc. are concerned with many aspects of politics, economy, science and technology, culture, education and travel, including more than 450,000 data and more than 30,000 pictures, and these databases offer regional information service for readers; Library of Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region has built a website called “Mongolian Digital Library”; Inner Mongolia University Library has opened up websites called “Mongolian Studies Information Net” , “China Mongolian Periodicals’ Web”, and offering information to both of readers in home and abroad; The Library of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, emphasizes to collect books of Ningxia local documents, Hui minority and Islam characteristic documents. The Ningxia Local Documents Joint Catalog is the only one with the most complete information and comprehensive large scale retrieval reference book, has filled Ningxia’s the blank of local document retrospective retrieval; Catalogue of the Ancient Mongolian Books and the Catalogue of Mongolian Ganjuur and Danjuur(Tripitaka), have established reporting and the modern document service system of retrieval means for the Mongolian Studies, with complete coverings and document collecting.


2. Existing Problems of Chinese Minority Library Service

2.1 National Documents Network and Digitalization Service Level Will Be Improved

Because of less developed conditions of economy and culture of minority areas, IT isn’t got extensive application in libraries. Although some libraries have computer management, have no network, and hardly to form an overall advantage. Among the 55 minorities of our country, 53 of them have their own national languages, 29 of them have their own national written languages. So far, only ten of the written languages, such as Mongolian, Tibetan, Manchurian, Uigur, Khasakh, Khirgis, Tai, Yi, Zhuang and Korean, can carry out computer word processing, with other languages as Chinese and English. Lack of network and digitalization standards and unifications, the complex physical materials and different shapes, the bottleneck on digitalization handling of minority documents, have caused certain difficulties to minority area digital library construction, as made some obstacles for network interconnection and data exchanges. These brought some difficulties for computer network management and minority language documents.

2.2 Popularized and Personalized Local Characteristic Service and Its Overall Situation Will Be Improved The popularizing means the general acceptance of the reader to the service, personalizing means the particularity of the serving ways and contents, and overall situation means the service scope. Since some minority area libraries lack of modern equipments as computer modernizing facility, come to certain limitations for network information and the service of characteristic database.

2.3 The Development of Network Reference Service is Disequilibria, and Having Less Efficiency Service

Some of the Email Service only has addresses, but without hint and help. And the web table sheet has relatively simple design, only offers the information of user’s basic information and consulting program input, lacking of reference background, the other information hints such as what kind of information have checked; Some navigation construction managements of key subject is scattered, and lack of cooperation. There are many repetitive construction problems in the same subjects, and overlapping repetitions in a lot of information. Besides, because of lacking of standardized management, some service project installations have been disordered; it seriously affected the service efficiency.

2.4 Lacking of the Network Resources of National Documents in Minority Written

Languages, the Network Information Retrieval Service of Minority Written Documents Have Been Restricted

According to the present condition, the information searching on web and reference service that are running by minority area libraries, are still confined only in Chinese and English. But the network information retrieval of minority languages is still remaining to develop further. Taking Mongolian documents as example, the Mongolian Documents Bibliography Database, digitalized products of Mongolian documents are still in single machine editions only. And also, the Mongolian Studies of Characteristic Database and “Mongolian Studies Information Net” are running in Chinese, too. But “the Mongolian Periodicals Web” is only a preliminarily

try on network retrieval of minority written language documents. So, if we want to develop

minority area local documents, we should put forth our efforts to strengthen national local documents digitalization and network construction, and it is the prerequisite of developing reference service and information retrieval on network.

3. The Suggestions and Thoughts for Service Development of Chinese

Minority Libraries

Minority area libraries will found on personnel, maintain the local characteristics and national characteristics of the document resources around the service purposes. The network, digitalization and service level of the national documents will be improved. These are recognized as the basic guarantee of minority area libraries’ running in the information society.

3.1 Set up the Ideas of Good Service, Offer Excellent Quality Service for Readers

The thought decides the behavior of a person. Therefore, set up the thought of “Reader Is God, Service Is Supreme”, strictly obeying professional morals, then can treat the work and readers carefully, respecting readers’ reading behavior, and could offer excellent quality service for the readers; On the other hand, libraries will develop national document information resources, process information products, as information wall bulletin and special subject bibliography etc. and then do some document secondary processing and to form “summaries”, “reviews” and “research reports”. These forms are helpful to improve the high quality service abilities of the

minority area libraries.

3.2 Strengthen the Network Information Service Idea, Improve the Digital Service Levels

College libraries must take the advantage of ways or forms of network service, will change the traditional service that only limited in document borrowing and reading into high-level information service, in order to make information service has its depth and scope. Since the limitations of minority areas’ less developed economy and society, and the some difficulty of computerizing of minority written language, the documents of Chinese minority area have not been fully used and developed yet, and the library services have not been digitalized and have no network. Therefore, minority area libraries need the fortunes of digital library development more than other areas. The western minority area libraries, under certain network and tech supports, with the ideas of having no limitations of the resources and services, make their services approach a new stage, in order to get more efficiency from less investment. By doing this, to reduce the gaps of information and wealth between the western and eastern areas; By the way, come to the important channel that develops the estate of the western national area library contents; The extensive application of digital library new technologies still makes western national area digital libraries bring up a new huge business chance for industrial circles, and formed a new market. Thus digital library is not only a developing tendency of the western area library development in the 21st century, is also the main developing tendency of the western entire information industry, it will drive the economic development of western national area maximally. The present China Academic Libraries Information System or CALIS and the West China College Network System, under construction by the State Education Commission, are being built on the very subject and idea. Under network environment, libraries adopt modern technical means and reinforce development of the national documents resources, for improving service level, satisfying the demand of readers for national document information, and then can develop the deserved values of the national documents fully.

3.3 Create New Service Ways, Develop Characteristic Information Service

At first, the new service ways should be created and undertake the regional construction projects according to the specific condition of the Western China Development Project, with building purposes and planning. Secondly, should stress national characteristics and local characteristics in the document information service. Should establish characteristic collections fully using the resource advantages of the western area, and offer better characteristic services. According to the local resources that the western area possesses, such as mineral resources, travel resources, ecological resources, water resources and the resources of natural gas, etc. And establish a series of characteristic collections like minority language documents, historical documents and the local documents of the western area’s characteristic resources. And offer service for the research of the distribution of the national area’s natural resources, the quantity of the deposit, the market value, the market demand, technique development and the information of the market. Take Yunnan Province as an example, in recent years, the Province especially maintain own national characteristic cultural resources, organizes the relevant experts and scholars of the cultural departments or libraries in a great respect, develops the national characteristic document information fully, and has gotten the excellent economic benefits. They have investigated more times, surveyed and studies on the materials, pointed the Yunnan Naxi Dongba culture, pictographs, the ancient Naxi Music and the Sifang Ancient Street, as high developing information aims. And have introduced the Yunnan Diqing Shangrila and beautiful river Lijiang that having the most cultural and regional aspects, to the whole world. Thus successfully made them have gotten the reputation of world cultural legacy, driven the economic increase swiftly in these world famous sceneries. This is the successful

example of Yunnan Province, using the characteristic cultural information combined with the development of the national travel estates.

3.4 Train Innovation Service Teams, Promote the Minority Area Library Service

The characteristics of different languages and different nationalities of the national area library readers, have decided the multi-nationalities of its professional teams. A talented professional personal of minority librarians who needed to master more than one kind of minority languages, then can offer the service of high level and diversity for each national reader, this is the crucial place that maintains and develops the national characteristics of minority area libraries; At the same time, along with the promotion of library automation level and service contents improved, the national area librarians also study many knowledge, besides the traditional abilities, such as network knowledge, retrieval or searching abilities, service means ( inter-library borrowing, network transmission , dispatch Email, long-range registration and

answer consulting or reference ). They have to study and master these subjects, and must understand the information demands of different users. Only so, they can satisfy the reader demands, offer the high quality services to the readers.

3.5 Establish Minority Area Cooperation Net, Realize the Document Information

Mutual Share Service

The development of modern techniques of computer network as its core, to establish minority area cooperation network, has offered fast and convenient technical means to realizing mutual share of the resources. Since the less development and investment of minority area economy and culture, it is hard to satisfy demands of the multiple levels of different groups of readers, with a single library’s financial resources and manpower. Therefore, libraries have to come to network cooperation, according to each library collections and service characteristics, will coordinate mutually, reduce repetitive constructions, run unified programs, develop minority area document resource advantages fully, offer high quality service to the minority areas. Minority area document resources only through the development and use, and realize the

mutual share of the resources, and then could play their increment affects, and could fit the social information demands that increased day by day. By mutual share of the resources, on the one hand, take advantage of information of document resources that other libraries collected, offer service for social progress, construction of the economy of the minority
areas. On the other hand, establish the system of national document retrieval for the mutual share, offer national document information service, and play the deserved role of national document fully for the entire society. Accelerating the step of modernization is the basic channel of realizing the mutual share of resources of the minority area libraries. In a word, minority area libraries under network environment, will not only organize the resources on the net in a planned way according to the reader requirements, but also satisfy various, multiple levels of demands of the readers, and to innovate service systems, fully excavate and use the values of local national document resources and strengthen self liveliness, keep the characteristic development, make the services of minority area libraries have a good



Bibliographical References:

1. The National Library Science Studies, by China Nationalities library, Liaoning Nationalities Press, 2002

2. Library Statistical Yearbook of China, by Library Science Academy of China, 2004.

3. Founding the Innovation Service System for the National Area Society and Economy, by Mo

Yanling, No.3, 2004, the Work of College Libraries

4. The National Document Information Resource Construction and Characteristic Service, by Li Yinghe, No.6, 2004, Journal of Dali College

(translated from Chinese into English by Delger)


Category: Others 1,512 views

A Notification to the International Conference on the Arzhai Grotto in China 2008


Dear Mr/Mis


The Arzhai Grotto is the biggest architectural complex of grotto temples in Inner Mongolia, usually known as the Donhuang Caves of the Grassland. In 2003, the site was listed as the National Cultural Relics Protection Unit. There are 67 caves, 22 ruins of relieves and temples and Oboos. It is famous for its Buddhist frescoes, the Urgurjin Mongolian titles in some caves. These frescoes and titles have a high values of the cultural relic protection and academic researches. For further study and expanding the research of the Arzhai Grotto, the International Conference on the Arzhai Grotto, from August 27 to 29 in 2008, is going to host by the Otog Banner of Inner Mongolia China. The conference theme is the Arzhai Grotto and Nomadic Culture. According to your academic achievement and reputation, you are invited to the conference.

The conference related introduction as follows:

One. The conference is approved by the higher authority, and going to hold by the Academy of Social Sciences of Inner Mongolia, the Government and Party Committee of the Ordos City, the Bureau of Relics of Inner Mongolia, the Government and Party Committee of the Otog Banner.

Two. There are sessions of the Grotto Culture, the Uygurjin Titles, Tibetan Originated Buddhism and the History of Northern China Nationalities. And these subjects are going to be talked in group discussions with classified topics.

Three. The languages of the conference: Chinese, Mongolian and English.

Four. There are no conference fees paid from the participants, but given free meals and hotels.

Five. A symposium is going to be published after the conference.

Six. The conference period: 3 days of discussion and investigation.

If you could attend the conference, please send your abstract of your article to our office before May 31, 2008, by fax and email or post, thank you.

Address: No129, the East Daxuelu Street, Saihan District, Huhhot 010010, China

Room 423, Main Building, the Academy of Social Sciences of Inner Mongolia


The Office of the International Conference on

the Arzhai Grotto in China

March 20, 2008



The Reference Topics for the Conference

1.    Research on the excavating age and structure of the Arzhai Grotto

2.    Research on the frescoes and their style features of the Arzhai Grotto

3.    Research on the Uygurjin Mongolian titles of the Arzhai Grotto

4.    Research on the Tibetan originated Buddhism and history of the Arzhai Grotto

5.    Research on the history of Western Ordos in the periods of Beiwei Dynasty and the North Mongol Yuan Empire

6.    The related historical figures to the Arzhai Grotto

7.    Research on the excavating age of Jagun Hudug or wells and their techniques and application

8.    Research on the folklore and custom in the Arzhai area

9.    Research on the Xixia State and activities of later years of Chinggis Khan

10.Research on the minority art

11.Research on the footprints of the Changan Dinosaur

12.Research on the historical figures of Otog Banner


The Conference Date and Time

August 25 (Monday)

Whole day registration (first floor hall, the Academy of Social Sciences of Inner Mongolia)


August 26 (Tuesday)

Go to Ulaan Town of the Otog Banner


August 27 (Wednesday)

Opening Ceremony

10:00—10:30     group photo

10:30—12:00     main topic speech

p.m.  2:30—6:00  a visit to the Arzhai Grotto


August 28 (Thursday)

a.m. 8:30—12:00      main topic speech

p.m. 2:30—6:00       main topic speech


August 29 (Friday)

a.m. 8:30—10:00     main topic speech

10:00—12:00    Closing Ceremony

p.m. a visit to Yinchuan City, Ningxia


August 30 (Saturday)

a.m. a visit to King Tombs in Ningxia

p.m. back to Ulaan Town


August 31 (Sunday)

a.m.   Closing and go home

(translated from Chinese into English by Delger)